Supreme Court tells "beach villain" Vinod Khosla to get lost

Photo: Marcin Wichary (CC)

Good news from the U.S. Supreme Court! It decided not to weigh in on the fight over Martin's Beach in California. Vinod Khosla, a Silicon Valley billionaire, bought land surrounding the popular beach, intermittently closed the only access route to the public, and has fought a long, losing battle over his "property rights" since. In California, beaches are public up to the high tide line—and established paths to them come with legal baggage, even when they run over your land.

“The most conservative and divided Supreme Court in my lifetime confirmed that even a billionaire, who refuses to acknowledge that the law applies to him, and retains the most expensive attorneys he can find, cannot create a private beach,” said attorney Joe Cotchett of Burlingame, who represents the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit group that has won lower cases forcing Khosla to keep the beach open.

“Beaches are public in California, and the immensely wealthy must comply with the Coastal Act just like everyone else.”

Attorneys for Khosla said Khosla will now seek a permit from the Coastal Commission, which surfers and environmental groups, and the commission itself, said was required under the law, to close the gate to the beach, something he had not done. ... The beach, used by families back to the 1920s, is flanked on both sides by steep cliffs and is only accessible by boat or by a road that runs through 89 acres Khosla bought in 2008 from a local family. The case has gained national attention.

He apparently never even lived there! It's an incredible story of an ego injury's decade-long quest to justify itself.

Previously: Vinod Khosla, beach villain